Monday, November 15, 2010

Systematic Theology

We are currently reading "What is a Healthy Church Member?" by Thabiti Anyabwile.  The last chapter I read was on being a biblical theologian.  In other words, to be a lover and student of God's Word.

This has been a wonderful challenge and encouragement to grow in this area.  It was one of those "duh" moments when it hit me: if I say that I love God, shouldn't I know Him as intimately as possible?  Shouldn't I want to know Him so deeply, walking with Him daily?  And how can I know God?  Through His word, illuminated by the Spirit that God gives permanently to indwell in genuine believers as a gracious gift.

An illustration to show the sad state of my own lack of understanding and knowledge of the Bible: I can tell you that Cedric Ceballos once wore a headband around his eyes during a dunk contest while he was on the Phoenix Suns.  I can tell you that Jeff Hornacek would wipe the side of his head before he shot every free throw.  I can tell you that Kobe Bryant was named after the meat, kobe beef, after his dad, Jelly Bean Bryant, ate it at a restaurant.  I can tell you all of these things and more, and yet I still have trouble finding certain books of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament.

Now some may argue, "Richard, Bible knowledge is for old, nerdy scholars.  I'm just a lay person," or "Richard, why do I have read/study/know the Bible to love God?  Can't I just live a good life, have positive feelings towards God, and go to church on Sundays?"  Well, what I'm starting to learn is that the Bible is the only way we can know God, and the only way we can love someone is if we know them.  the Bible is God's self-revelation.  We can't make up stuff about God.  The only truth about God must come from Him.  So if we truly love God, we would want to know Him more and more, and that comes from reading/studying/knowing God's word.

Another argument may be that it's too hard.  Well, my illustration above proves that if you love something/someone, learning things about that subject is not cumbersome or difficult.  It's not like someone forced me to go through the annals of basketball history to learn those random facts.  I enjoyed all things basketball, so it was simply a part of me as I grew up and understood more about the game and the players.  Honestly, I didn't even try to learn these facts, I just did.  Well, how much more so should that apply to knowing God?  I mean, basketball is just a game, a man-made sport that will only last for so long.  God is the infinite, all-powerful, omniscient One.  He is the Creator, Sustainer, and Provider.  He is the very essence of life, truth, joy and love.  He is the purpose in life.  He is the gift.  There is no one and no thing greater.

Lastly, one may argue that there's not enough time to really study the Bible.  Oh really?  Really, Richard?  So you can watch hours of football games, you can spend hours at the gym playing ball, you can waste hours doing nothing, but you can't spend a few minutes studying the Word of Life?  Mmmm.  Something's fishy, eh?  As they say, there's always time for the things you love.

Anywho, not to get too preachy, but if I am, please know that I preach to myself first and foremost.  I've owned "Systematic Theology" by Wayne Grudem for several years now, but I've never read it cover to cover.  I think now is a good time to try to do that.  Hopefully I'll be able to document the things I'm learning on this blog, more for my sake than anything else.  Till then, to God alone be the glory!

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